PARIS, France – Johanna Konta, the No.26 seed, continued her strong clay court form to defeat qualifier Antonia Lottner, 6-4, 6-4 and progress to the second round of the French Open.
The 28-year-old Brit had never previously won a main draw match at Roland Garros in four previous attempts, but it took her just one hour and 20 minutes to move past Lottner, the WTA World No.147.
A total of seven breaks were exchanged in the opening set as it took the higher-ranked woman a little time to settle, despite forging into a 5-2 lead. Lottner whittled that back, but when serving to stay in the set was broken for a fourth time.
Although the first eight games of set two all went with serve, it was evident that Konta was the player in control.
Over the course of the second set, she hit 13 winners to just four unforced errors and started to find her mark with a greater number of first serves. However, she came perilously close to losing the set when serving at 4-4 as she was forced to fend off a trio of break points, having lost only three points on serve previously.
Having negotiated the danger, Konta immediately broke to secure a second-round match with wildcard Lauren Davis, who defeated Kristyna Pliskova, 6-2, 6-4.
In the same section of the draw, Viktoria Kuzmova defeated Alizé Cornet, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a meeting with No.4 seed Kiki Bertens.
Two-time quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi produced something of shock as she upset No.18 seed Julia Goerges, 7-5, 6-1.
In a match in which both players struggled to find their first serve, the Estonian was playing catch up for long periods of the first set but edged her way into the ascendancy by sneaking the 11th game.
The real watershed moment in the match, though, arrived in the third game of the second set, which spanned 28 points, saw 11 deuces and was eventually won by Kanepi on her ninth break point. Thereafter, the resistance of her German rival was broken and the WTA World No.88 went on to win in one hour 34.
Polona Hercog was another giant killer as she ousted No.32 seed Aliaksandra Sasnovich in a lengthy affair that was carried over from Sunday. After the opening set was taken by the Belarusian, 6-4, the WTA World No.71 fought back to level at 6-2 before play was stopped locked at 3-3. On the resumption, Hercog was the victor in the shootout, taking the decider, 8-6.
Elise Mertens was given a scare but the No.20 seed ultimately won through against Tamara Zidansek, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, but No.30 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu was not so fortunate, losing, 6-4, 6-4, to Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Anastasija Sevastova and Donna Vekic, seeded 12 and 23 respectively, breezed through their matches against Luksika Kumkhum and Liudmila Samasonova entirely untroubled.
Samantha Stosur, meanwhile, rolled back the years to defeat Barbora Strycova, 6-2, 7-6(3), and there was success, too, for Mandy Minella, who overcame Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-4, 6-2.
Experience, though, did not prove enough for 34-year-old Vera Zvonareva, who lost out, 6-4, 6-2, to Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov.
There was a mixed day for American women, with wins coming for Shelby Rogers over Astra Sharma, Danielle Collins over Tatjana Maria and Sofia Kenin, who needed three sets to beat qualifier Giulia Gatto-Monticone, but Varvara Lepchenko was comprehensively defeated by Zhang Shuai and Alison Riske lost a three-set thriller to Andrea Petkovic, having won the opening set.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Zarina Diyas, Rebecca Peterson and Sorana Cirstea, who had been slated to play Petra Kvitova but instead faced lucky loser Kaja Juvan, dropping the opener before fighting back to win in three close sets.
Bianca Andreescu's match with Marie Bouzkova and Dalila Jakupovic's meeting against Kurumi Nara were both halted at one-set all due to poor light.